The Style Files: Tom Stringer

Tom Stringer Headshot

Tom Stringer is the founder and principal of the revered Tom Stringer Design Partners firm in Chicago. A classically trained interior designer, Tom is greatly influenced by his love of travel and exploring new destinations– a love which has translated into a vast portfolio that showcases an effortless ability to work in a variety of styles with complete mastery. I love that Tom has the ability to work in so many different styles to create spaces that are reflective of his clients as well as the varied locations of his projects. Tom’s work has graced the pages of many top publications including ELLE DECOR, LUXE, and Traditional Home. In addition, Tom Stringer Design Partners has been continuously lauded as one of the top design firms in the nation by House Beautiful. I am so glad to have gotten to know this talented designer a bit better through our Style Files interview. Enjoy!


Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Tom Stringer: Eclectic, classically informed, well-traveled, comfortable

Tom Stringer SB

PC: Has living in Chicago influenced the way you decorate?

TS: I’m always influenced by my surroundings, and Chicago is a wonderful city for art and architecture. It has always been a crossroads, and serves as one for my design business today.

456 W. Barry, Chicago; Rugo Raff Architects; Padgett and Company Job#3223

PC: What does your home say about you?

TS: Any well-designed home tells a story about the people who live there. Ours says that we live a big life, love art, travel widely, and entertain often.

Tom Stringer Chicago Dining Room

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

TS: It’s often said, but travel and other cultures are truly my greatest source of inspiration. The act of traveling, whether by plane, or boat, or back of a camel- the adventure in travel inspires me as much as the destination.

Tom Stringer Palm Springs

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

TS: Billy Baldwin and Oscar de la Renta, such stylish gentlemen.

Billy Baldwin

{An Iconic Interior by Billy Baldwin}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

TS: Bourbon and laziness.

Tom Stringer SB2

PC: What traits do you most admire in a person?

TS: Honesty, forthrightness, clarity of purpose

TSDP Grey Crawford

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

TS: Albert Hadley, whose work made me understand that design is as much about editing as elaborating.

albert hadley2

{A Chic, Timeless Space by the Late, Great Albert Hadley}

PC: What is your idea of “living la dolce vita”?

TS: I think I’m living it now. I deeply enjoy my work, travel extensively, have a joyful life, and a wonderful partner to share it with.

Tom Stringer Chicago Bedroom

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

TS: Lots in store, literally. I am starting work on my first book, a design-inspired travelogue, and also my first collections of furniture and fabric.

 Tom Stringer Palm Springs2


Snip20160327_29Go-To Outfit: Levi 501’s, custom dress shirt, Loro Piana cashmere blazer and Ferragamo belt and loafers

Style Mantra: Keep it simple and relaxed

Scent: L’Occitane Shea Butter Soap

Piece of Jewelry: Panerai Dive Watch

Color I Never Tire Of: Indigo

Flower: Peonies, in white or light pink

Indispensable Design Element: Candlelight

Era for Design: 20-40’s

Dream Project: Designing yachts

Fabric/Textile: Loro Piana Cashmere

Hostess Gift: Scented candle. My affinities change, but when I find one that I like, I buy a dozen to share.

Meal: Any of the menus at NEXT.

Drink: A perfect Manhattan, shaken and served on the rocks.


3 Things I Love About My City: Unlimited cultural options, food galore, and our grand lakefront vistas.

Weekend Destination: Our home in Northern Michigan

Hotel: Cheval Blanc, where I am lunching with friends today.

City: Rome

Museum: Truly, the Art Institute of Chicago. In my own backyard.

Artist: Richard Diebenkorn

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “Monday, Monday” by The Mamas & The Papas

Actor/Actress: Impossible for me to choose

Prized Possession: Our 1952 Mahogany Chris-Craft.

Risk Worth Taking: Traveling too much

Greatest Extravagance: Traveling too much

Go-To Color Palette: Neutrals with hits of chocolate. I like letting the art speak.

Rule to Break: Swimming after dinner.

Movie Set Design: I loved the sets from the 2013 version of The Great Gatsby by Catherine Martin & Beverly Dunn, then again I love Moulin Rouge also by Catherine Martin. Ok, anything by Catherine Martin.

I can never have too many…Friends.

Paloma Signature

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Tell Me What You Think! leave a comment...

  1. This interior is totally elegant and modern. Love the gorgeous tree design cushions and pillows complimenting the wall painting. He is so talented and having a great taste. Well done!